Storage Change Leads to Big Headaches

Growing storage burdens and the emergence of new ways to handle them are creating a need for new management tools.
Posted September 23, 2005

Leslie Wood

Continued strong growth in data and the emergence of new ways to handle it will lead to major change and disruption in the storage market in coming years, industry analysts and experts predict.

The explosion of data -- and the rise of laws and regulations governing its retention -- have spurred new technologies, such as information lifecycle management (ILM) for managing it. But with those new technologies have come new problems.

David Scott, president and CEO of 3PAR, says the challenge for users will be in managing the multiple distinct tiers of storage required to handle all the different categories of static and dynamic data.

''If every tier is stored on different platform architectures, each with unique data management tools, training requirements and separate, uncoordinated development paths, the storage administration and change management toll on customers will be extremely heavy,'' he says. ''This will drive up the total cost of ownership just as the economic imperative is to drive it down.''

Scott says this is not alleviated by the introduction of storage resource management (SRM) tools that simply introduce another layer and component. ''I believe that a new generation of simple, efficient, and massively scalable tiered-storage arrays called utility storage can help customers escape this trap,'' he says.

Scott also believes that with utility storage, tiering can occur cost-effectively within a single platform, with low administrative overhead and common data management facilities across all tiers. And, he says, costs associated with complexity and change management can be almost eliminated. ''With utility storage tools such as dynamic optimization, data can be moved between tiers simply, online, and without disruption to running applications,'' says Scott.

Robert Skeffington, solutions specialist at Dimension Data, believes that having more data doesn't present new problems; it just compounds the ones you already have.

''The lack of a good, quick to use, comprehensive management tool is making each day a little more painful,'' says Skeffington. ''The pressures on the IT department from both the internal and external financial communities, and more importantly, the bell on Wall Street, will remain the same: keep your costs down and improve your efficiency ratios.''

Skeffington says that more data generally requires more people to manage, and more people managing drives up costs.

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